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PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2013) (CC) (Stereo)

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01:00:00

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Syria 20, England 10, United States 10, Nasa 8, Boston 8, Us 8, U.s. 7, Miami 6, Suarez 6, Panetta 5, Dave Barry 5, Providence 5, John Brennan 5, Clinton 4, Iraq 4, New York City 4, New York 4, Brown 3, Hartford 3, Jupiter 3,
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  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy  
   Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown.  (2013)  (CC) (Stereo)  

    February 8, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00pm PST  

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bnsf railway. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and friends of the newshour. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: millions of people in the northeast and new england battened down for a weekend blizzard today. forecasters warned it could be one for the record books. by this afternoon, the gathering storm was beginning to whiten the landscape for hundreds of
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miles, with long hours of snowfall still to come. fueling the fall, two low- pressure systems-- one from the midwest, the other from the southeast-- colliding over the northeast and new england. blizzard warnings were posted in seven states from new jersey on up to maine. at least three declared emergencies, and schools closed in a number of cities. forecasters predicted new england would get the worst of it with up to three feet of snow likely in boston. mayor thomas menino. >> this is a storm of major proportions. stay off the roads. stay home. let the public works crews do their job. >> brown: the region also braced for winds reaching 75 miles an hour that will pile up drifts and almost guarantee widespread power outages. as ever, the threat prompted shoppers to pack stores, stocking up on supplies. >> this is panic shopping, so bread, milk, a snow shovel in
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case our snow shovel breaks. >> you've got to plan ahead. a couple feet of snow would shut everything down and, who knows, it could be a couple of days, right? >> brown: in new york city, predictions called for as much as a foot of snow, and mayor michael bloomberg said the city had marshaled an army of plows and salt trucks. >> the sanitation department will deploy something like 1,700 snowplows and 65 front-end loaders. it also has 450 salt-spreaders already deployed. >> brown: the storm also focused new concern on the new york and new jersey shore areas still recovering from hurricane sandy. they faced the prospect of being flooded again. >> we are trying to batten down the hatches here, if any storms are coming. the last one ruined us totally. >> brown: and long before the worst hit, air travel was in a shambles. well over 4,000 flights were canceled through saturday, sending ripple effects across the country. the snow also halted amtrak and some mass transit service in the northeast.
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and for the latest on what's expected tonight and this weekend, we turn to bernie rayno, a meteorologist with accuweather. so what is the latest on the track of the storm and expected snow amounts? >> well, i will tell you, the worst of this storm we have been pointing out all week is going to be across southern new england. two storms as you mentioned, and the first storm across the midwest already producing quite a bit of snow across new york state. but the second storm as it strengthens and moves north and northeast, we're already starting to get bands of heavy snow now across new england, into toward boston, providence, hartford, snowing in new york city. and by tonight this storm is really going to start intensifying here. and anywhere in this white, new york city, providence, boston, right up the i-95 toward bangor maine, this whole area will see snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour. we're going to see wind gusts between 50 and 60 miles per hour and that's going to produce a lot of blowing and drifting snow, heavier snow accumulations
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in the blue here across southern new england, any were from 18 to 24 inches and there will be locations that pick up over two feet bses so when you say two storms, what is it that causes a big one like this? >> well, there's three ingredients. number one, arctic air came in across northern new england. that was really the key out of anything. but then the storm system coming across the pas civic northwest came across the midwest. that added energy. and it's that southern storm though that added something that we have seen in the last week, gulf moisture. arctic air, gulf moisture and that energy coming in from the west all funneling into one area, jeff, southern new england. >> brown: so when you talk about particular areas of concern, of course, a lot of people looking at the areas that were hit by devastate its by sandy wa, with those areas? >> well, those areas they going to have problems tonight because there is going to be strong gusty wind as long the jersey coast. we are going to get coastal
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flooding an beach erosion, mostly from long island all the way up toward cape cod and in the coastal maine but across new jersey, long island, long beach island, north h there is going to be about 3 to 6 inches of snow, strong gusty winds but really this storm will target southern new england. boston, providence and hartford. so for the areas, new york city on south it is a formidable storm, about 6 to 10 inches around new york city but the worst of this storm right up here in boston and new england and it could be historic. >> brown: well, historic. we talk about, we use that word, we throw that around a bit. how historic. how does this compare to other storms that you have covered? if you take a look at the all time snow records for boston it's 27.6 inches of snow back in february of 2003. that a possibility. it may run just short but that is a possibility. they can break that,
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providence 28.6 inches. we could get awfully close to that. portland may get close to the 27 inches here so this is a storm that i think for many locations in southern new england will be a top five storm as far as snowfall production. but let's remember we have that wind tonight. and this is already shut down travel. and it will shut down travel across southern new england. you're going to see lots of wild weather, boston, providence, hartford. you'll see snowfall rates 1 to 3 inches per hour, blowing snow, white outs and thunder and lightning as well. that is the kind of storm this is. >> bernie rayno of accuweather, thanks so much. >> woodruff: we've gathered photos of the snowstorm that you've posted on social media. find that collection on our web site. and still to come on the newshour: deep divisions over syria policy; new information from the surface of mars; shields and brooks; and humorist dave barry. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: heavily armed
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police moved deeper into snow- covered mountains east of los angeles today, hunting an ex- police officer wanted for three murders. christopher dormer's burning truck was found yesterday near the big bear lake resort, about 80 miles from los angeles. today, san bernardino county sheriff john mcmahon said, so far, there's been no sign of dormer himself. >> we saw the tracks as i indicated last night. we followed those trackings around through the forest am we haven't found any new information to suggest the tracks are going any specific area. we're going to continue searching until either we discover that he left the mountain or we find him, one of the two >> sreenivasan: dormer was fired from the la police department in 2008. this week, he left an angry manifesto on facebook, in effect declaring war on the police. at least 36 people were killed in iraq today in the worst attacks since november. nearly 100 others were wounded. car bombings hit two outdoor markets in baghdad, and in the hillah province to the south. a taxi stand in karbala was also targeted. all three were in primarily shiite areas. amid the violence, thousands of
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sunnis protested against shiite prime minister nouri al-maliki. in tunisia, huge crowds of mourners protested as opposition leader chokri belaid was laid to rest. he was assassinated earlier this week. tens of thousands converged on the cemetery, with belaid's coffin draped in a tunisian flag. violence erupted as police fired tear gas and demonstrators threw stones and set cars ablaze. thousands of demonstrators turned out in cairo and other cities across egypt, protesting president mohammed morsi and his islamist-led government. the crowds defied hard-line muslim clerics, who called on their supporters to kill opposition leaders. as night fell, security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters who threw rocks and fire bombs at the presidential palace. gunmen in nigeria have killed at least nine women working to immunize children against the polio virus. the attacks today were in kano, in the african nation's muslim north. the killers were believed to come from boko haram, a radical islamic sect.
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polio remains endemic in nigeria, but some muslim clerics have charged the vaccinations are a plot to sterilize young girls. the british government today condemned the growing discoveries of horsemeat in what was supposed to be imported beef. officials said they now suspect criminals are involved. we have a report from chris choi of independent television news. >> some of britain's biggest brands are on the hook as this meat scandal grows. now government has ordered thousands of beef products be tested, as companies recall ready meals bought by millions. and tonight this industry is under pressure. >> it is about food labeling, proper retailing, proper information. and frankly it's about customers being letdown. >> this new wave of scandal started on saturday. a lx em bourg factory warned them of trouble. dna tests had started even before that. but it wasn't until monday that retailers were told
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they withdrew its frozen beef-- on tuesday tests-- at the began to withdraw their products that came from the same supplier and on wednesday tests confirmed horse meat in the company. but there were signs problem kos go months to august last year. >> some shops are only now remove og these products which come from a french firm. information it gave to fenders on monday is revealed in a letter shown to us. it was that raw materials delivered since the first of august 2012 may not match how they're labeled. in other words, the roots of this alert could go back much further than previously thought. >> do we yet know who else was supplied by that french factory. >> we're in communication with the french authorities to obtain a list. >> still at this stage haven't got a list. have you got a list or not. >> just a second. >> after check he told me
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they still have not had a list from the french. tonight there was calls for a ban on all meat imports until a clearer picture emerges. >> fundirs and the french firm say there is no health risk and are ensuring this can't happen again but tonight as shoppers fear processed meat is not what is labeled and the ingredient increasingly missing from our food chain is trust >> sreenivasan: horse meat is considered a delicacy in france and italy, where it is openly labeled and consumed. the u.s. secret service is investigating the apparent hacking of private emails from former presidents george h.w. bush and his son, george w. bush, and other family members. the "smoking gun" web site reported today that the hacker, known by the alias "guccifer," gained access to emails, as well as photos, phone numbers and addresses. another bush son, former florida governor jeb bush, called the hacking "outrageous". wall street finished the week on a positive note. the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 49 points to close just short of 13,993. the nasdaq rose more than 28
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points to close near 3,194, a 12-year high. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: we return to the civil war in syria, where activists say rebels clashed with government troops in damascus and shut down a highway out of the capital. meanwhile, in washington, there are new revelations of a split within the obama administration about what should be done about the conflict. ray suarez reports. >> suarez: it was a short moment in a long hearing devoted to another topic, and it yielded a surprising set of answers from defense secretary leon panetta, and the joint chiefs chairman, general martin dempsey. arizona republican john mccain asked about a report that president obama rejected a proposal to arm syrian rebels last summer. >> did you support the recommendation by secretary of state... then secretary of state clinton and then head of c.i.a. general petraeus that we provide
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weapons to the resistance in syria? did you support that? >> we did. >> you did support that. >> we did. >> suarez: so far, the president's judgment has been that things won't get better with american arms. instead, he's warned the weapons might fall into the hands of extremist elements, a concern reiterated today by the new secretary of state, who was asked about the deliberations last year. >> i don't know what the discussions were in the white house and i'm not going backwards. the new administration, we're going forward from this point. there are serious questions about al nusra and a.q.i.-- al qaeda in iraq-- and other violent groups on ground. >> suarez: those groups are among the most effective fighters against the assad regime. they include jabhat al nusra, which the u.s. has declared a terrorist organization.
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but last november, a top rebel commander in northern syria, colonel abdul jabaar al aikidi, told "the newshour's" margaret warner the u.s. reasoning is a farce. >> ( translated ): this is an excuse used by the west not to provide us with any weapons and ammunition. we pledge to the international community that can help us that these weapons will be in safe hands. the west is directly empowering extremists by not supporting organized parties, like our military councils, so the young men go to other parties who have money and weapons. >> suarez: indeed, guns and money are pouring in from other sources, as kerry pointed out in his confirmation hearing two weeks ago. >> there are a lot of weapons there. there are people in the gulf, and you know who they are, who are not hesitating to provide weapons. >> suarez: he, too, was questioned by senator mccain, who's been urging american intervention for some time. >> i think you would agree with me that every day that goes by in syria, it gets worse.
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>> i think you would agree with me that, whatever judgments you make, they have to pass the test of whether or not, if you do them, they're actually going to make things better. >> suarez: for now, the u.s. is providing what it calls "non- lethal" assistance. and with panetta's departure from the pentagon today, plus clinton's last week and petraeus's resignation in 2012, general dempsey is the only known remaining advocate of arming the rebels still in a top advisory role. i'm joined who served in the obama administration state departments and is now dean of the school of advanced international studies at johns hopkins university. and andrew tabler, a senior fellow at the washington institute for near east policy. what were the main schools of thought. how did the camps break down in this argument inside the administration on what to do about syria, andrew? >> basically you have a
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discussion about syria about all the different options. and it really comes down to this. the white house was hedgingment they really did not want to get involved in syria. they have a firm policy to stay out of the middle east and would like to pull back. at the same time the agencies that deal with syria and the problem there, which is growing and mushrooming, the state department, cia and to a certain extent the department of defence all of which were throwing their hands up in the air and saying we have to do something, we have to do something so the interagency got involved and the series of articles we saw this week came out in which hillary clinton, dempsey and also the former hid of the c, a david petraeus were advocating arming groups in syria which until now now has been a no-go issue for the obama administration. >> this argue inside the administration was kept pretty quiet for a pretty long time, wasn't it? >> it was. partly it has to do with the fact that we don't know how serious and how intense it was. the fact that the president was given first an option and was told that maybe it's
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a good idea if we intervene does not mean that this was ever elevated to a status of a real serious discussion. but also all the people who were advocating intervention also knew how difficult syria would be. and therefore i think there never was the kind of enthusiasm we saw either with afghanistan, iraq or libya when it came to syria. and that created a certain amount of confusion as well as a certain amount of reluctance to really explore what might be the possibilities for the united states. >> suarez: secretary panetta called what we are giving nonlethal aid. what is the united states doing in syria, andrew? >> basically the united states is supporting the opposition politically, the syrian opposition coalition. but by and large the support is nonlethal in nature. what that means is that it's political support at the u.n., with allies, there's also humanitarian support which is funneled into syria. but there's a big problem with that. and that is 75% of the aid that we send in to syria
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goes through the syrian regime channels. because they're the sovereign power there. well, large swathes of the country now are outside of the regime's control. and you have millions of displaced people in those areas. so even though we are putting forward that aid and that assistance and that political assistance, the opposition, it's not really getting into the hands that need it and that's also caused a lot of people to look at this situation and realize that not only is it getting worse politically but on a human level, it's approaching catastrophic levels that are very difficult to deal with. >> rooney: approaching catastrophe, tens of thousands of civilians dead. the country as andrew mentions is divided. is it too late for the united states to have much of a say in the outcome, whatever it is? >> well, it is not too late for the united states to assess what its interests are and then explore in serious ways how can it protect the interests and avoid the worst case scenarios-- scenarios were happening. we have seen that you can let it go and you can get it will.
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-- let it go the conflict is not going to go away. only the amount of danger, the amount of suffering and implications for united states national security interests are likely to go. at some point in time syria is going to compel us to do something other than what we are doing. and i think to andrew's point, i don't think we're doing much. i think on the diplomatic front we have hid behind russia and on the military front we have been fairly relevant to the flow of this conflict on the ground. and we sort of have had this idea of a splendid distance from syria but are not able to maintain that indefinitely. >> suarez: but does that narrow your choices when you decide what you is to do, andrew, to fight that irrelevance as vali called it. >> the problem is when you get involved in a game late, you're cornered. and you also have to intervene in ways you might not have wanted to do from the beginning. so in the case of ot bama administration very reticent to get involved with armed groups, but now we are
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looking at something very real. real threat of the use of chemical weapons. the possibility of a failed state in a divided state in syria. and also a haven for terrorists and the propensity for all of that to spill over its borders into the vital allies like israel, like turkey, iraq, jordan and so on and also into lebanon grows every day with no end in sight. >> suarez: but you both painted this dire picture, and in some ways a clear american interest. but with the detar-- depar ture of secretary clinton, the depar ture of secretary panetta, the resignation of general petraeus, are the noninterventionists really leading the show, lead by president obama? >> ultimately the key decision makers in american foreign policy are the same people. which is the president and its key advisors on the national security council. and the issue is not whether or not the advocates in the state department or the pentagon are there. i think at some point the united states government and the white house have to make
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a decision that syria is an actual danger to america's national security interests. it is not something we can wash our hands from. and there are serious dangers and implications to the united states and the president actually to ask its national security team for realistic options that then he request gather his team and debate and decide about. there hasn't, i think, been a serious debate even within the united states government as to what might be our three top options what are the costs and benefits of each. and if we were to pursue one of them, how would we do it. >> is there a legitimate argument that this destabilizes turkey to some degree, an important country to the united states, and a nato ally, andrew. >> absolutely. thousands of syrians go over the border into turkey every day. and it's very easy for pkk fighters, kurdish fighters to meld into those refugees, to go across the border and carry out terrorists attacks inside of turkey.
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no government in turkey can tolerate that. and they lash out directly and immediately. and if that happens over time, with the pkk, for example, and its affiliated being backed by the iranians an assad regime, you can really see the entire region becoming destabilized very quickly. or in fits and starts going forward. but either way the risk to u.s. national security go up. >> suarez: andrew, vali, gentlemen, thank you both. >> thank you. >> brown: and now, some news from one of our planetary neighbors-- scientists are calling what they've found recently on mars "amazing." newshour correspondent spencer michels reports on the latest discoveries. >> reporter: at nasa's jet propulsion lab in pasadena, scientists and engineers cheered when a vehicle designed to roam across mars landed last august in an area called the gale
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crater, practically right on target. it was an amazing feat, putting a one-ton rover the size of a car onto the martian surface. the trip took eight and a half months and the project cost $2.5 billion. the rover, called "curiosity," has been on mars for nearly six months now, and it is sending back results. high resolution photos coming from the surface of the planet are like nothing man has ever seen before, and scientists believe they could shed light on whether life ever existed on the fourth rock from the sun. at jpl's lab, where a duplicate of "curiosity" is used for testing, space scientist and engineer adam steltzner says the geologists are fired up over what they can see from 17 cameras mounted on the recently landed rover. >> it's fantastic. you know, one thing about putting a rover on the surface
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of mars is you get images of the surface that you can never get from orbiters, right? you resolve down to the millimeter level. you get right up... up close and personal with the martian terrain, and whenever we do that, we learn new things. >> reporter: the cracks in the surface indicate where water once flowed-- water, which, deputy project scientist ashwin vasavada says is essential for life. >> we've already made a few discoveries. we sent this rover to discover habitable environments on mars, and we did discover one already, early in the mission. we found that we landed right on an ancient stream bed, where water was once flowing kind of up to your kneecaps. >> reporter: 100% sure it was water? the kind of water we have on earth? >> i wouldn't say 100%, but it's the most likely thing. you know, we know that there's water on mars frozen in ice today. and in the past, we think the conditions were more that liquid water could have been staple. >> reporter: "curiosity" is
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embarking on a new task on mars, after practicing on earth-- drilling into martian rocks for the first time. using remotely controlled tools built into the rover, nasa will bore into rocks to find out what they're made of, and if they contain clues to life on the red planet. >> this whole arm, in a series of tai chi moves, moves around and sieves that powder, and then dumps it into some inlets that are on the top of the rover deck, so that instruments which are inside the rover can analyze it for its chemistry. >> reporter: the mars mission wouldn't have been possible without a safe landing on the red planet by the "curiosity" rover. and the team leader for the lander design was steltzner, a former rock 'n roll musician who seems an unlikely hero in this space drama. today at 40, he's married with two kids, has a home in the suburbs, and holds science and engineering degrees from several top schools.
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but back in the day, steltzner was anything but a promising scientist. he was playing drums in a rock band and wasn't paying much attention to school. >> i passed geometry with an f-plus, because the teacher didn't want to see me a second time. actually, she didn't want to see me a third time. >> reporter: you were more interested in what? >> sex, drugs and rock 'n roll was what i was focusing on in high school. chasing ladies and socializing. which was great, because what that meant was, later on in life, when i got interested in really learning about the universe and going to college, i'd got all of that stuff out of my system and could really focus. >> reporter: steltzner got serious about school and space after looking up at the sky one night. >> it was only in my early 20s when i was a little bored with
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music that i noticed the stars moved in the sky at night, and they were in a different place when i was returning home from playing a gig as they had been when i went out to play the gig. >> reporter: he decided to take astronomy at marin community college in california, but first he had to take physics. >> i took that physics course. it blew my mind and really changed the course of my life. >> reporter: the rest is history. eventually, he learned to tackle big projects, like landing "curiosity" on mars, a vehicle far bigger than previous mars rovers. >> this is huge. it's titanic. and so, when i look at this, i still kind of get goose bumps that we tried to and evidently succeeded putting something that big on the surface of mars.
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>> reporter: after discarding a variety of landing models that had been used before, steltzner's team came up with a complex system where the rover was lowered on tethers from a sky crane made of rockets that then flew away before they could stir up the martian dust. nasa calls the landing "seven minutes of terror." were you terrified? yeah, you're definitely terrified. absolutely terrified. very gripped, stomach in knots, staring at the data. and then, i actually started to almost be surprised because it was going so smoothly. >> reporter: but now that the excitement is over, steltzner has discovered that what appeared to be a perfect landing was actually slightly flawed. >> upon closer inspection, we actually can see places where
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some luck was involved. >> reporter: what didn't work as perfectly as you wanted it to? >> well, it ends up being that we needed to understand the local gravity at mars. we actually landed softer than we had planned. >> reporter: slower? >> slower, more slowly than we had planned, and that error in the local gravity could easily have had us land faster than we had planned to, and that may have been more challenging for the rover to handle. >> reporter: more challenging? it could have broke it. >> it could have broken the rover. >> reporter: fuk li, manager of the nasa's mars exploration program, still calls the landing a success. >> we landed safely. it was within the envelope of how we designed the system to do, but we still want to go back to the data and see what we can learn for next time. >> reporter: next time may be 2020-- that's when nasa recently announced it's planning another trip to mars in a vehicle that will be similar to but cheaper
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than "curiosity." the principal aim, says li, is to continue the long search for signs of life. >> the question is, could mars have been habitable, and if so, did life arise? frankly, some of these measurements that we're making might be eventually useful for a human explorer that will be going to mars one day. >> reporter: steltzner has other heavenly bodies in his sights. he wants to design new landers that could touch down on a comet, and on europa, a moon of jupiter. >> this is an ice moon of jupiter's that we believe has a liquid water ocean, and we think is the mostly likely place in the solar system to have life today. so i'd like to put a lander on the surface of europa and see what we find. >> reporter: you really think there might be life on europa? >> i'm not an exo-biologist, but i know some exo-biologists. i drink beer with exo- biologists, and those exo- biologists think that europa's a great source, a great potential
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source for existent life today. the life would be down underneath the ice in this liquid ocean warmed by the tidal action of jupiter. >> reporter: mission director li says nasa is studying the idea, though recent proposed budget cuts could kill it. so far, "curiosity" hasn't turned up any evidence of past or present life in martian dirt. but nasa will have plenty to analyze from the rover over the next few years. eventually, scientists want to bring back to earth a soil or rock sample so they could analyze it in a real lab. it's unclear if the 2020 mission will include that capability. >> brown: there's more on this story online, where scientists at nasa's jet propulsion laboratory explain why it's important to go back and explore the same place again and again. that's on our web site. >> woodruff: and to the analysis
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of shields and brooks-- that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. >> welcome jarx so let's start with the president's choice to be cia director, john brennan, mark, he had the confirmation hearing yesterday. a lot of discussion about the use of unmanned drones. did john brennan help make the case for the what the administration is doing? >> yeah, he did. just in a note, in fairness to john brennan gave it time and again and with some justification, pointed out that the nominees of and appointees of the obama administration have been overwhelmingly the sons and daughters of the ivy league. and john brennan is a graduate of fordham university in new york, a jesuit city school and graduate work at the university of texas. but-- . >> woodruff: glad to have that classified. >> the jesuit league is well represented as well. >> that's right, that's right. but i do think, judy, that
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he was a far more foremidable witness on his own behalf for his own nomination than was chuck hagel the week before. he was far more confident, far more informed, authoritative. but this is the first time it was ever debated, the subject. i mean it's gone undebated. and i have to concede that much of the criticism, i think from conservative press is absolutely valid. if this were george w. bush and dick cheney and we had increased by sixfold the number of unmanned attacks on other countries that are not combatant countries, that were not at war with, there would have been far more hue and cry. and it is interesting that the president, the only criticism in the president seems to be among a few liberals, and the support seems to be from people like john bolton-- and so it's a debate i think we have to
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have, we should have and it's been cloaked in secrecy and secrecy is the sacrosanct secular religion of this city. >> woodruff: so this has stirred it up? >> i think so, because of the leaked memo and the system, we are having a debate about drones. and i guess if i want a drone policy i want it run by a franciscan, not a jesuit. but he didn't really defend it, even, though. he didn't really go out there and say here is why we have to do it he saw the chairman of the committee senator feinstein try to brag an argument out of him. he was hesitant to go there because he wanted to add leer to secrecy. but because of the memo we're having the discussion. and it's being lead on the other side by the opponents ron and j rockefeller, people like that and so you know when i look at the evidence, one of the things you see is that people like barack obama who were opposed more or less are skeptical of the policy, once they are actually in in power faced with the realities you see them swing over and so it's become a f you think about if we are
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going to take on al qaeda, and i think the evidence is that it allows you to kill the leaders of al qaeda with much fewer civilian casualties than a bombing campaign, than boots on the ground or anything else. so it is an effective program for that. the two things i would say is the buildback back from popular been is-- the secretary thing is who is reviewing. we've got really a group of people, all work together every day sort of doing this process, trying to say to us don't worry we're doing the review process. i as a supporter would feel much more comfortable if there was an external review. >> now there is talk about secret reports but there is a reaction to that. >> there is, the rule of law, judy, presidents make mistakes. i mean even great democratic presidents. franklin roosevelt made a terrible mistake by intering 140,000 japanese american citizens. abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus, jerry ford
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had to outlaw assassinations because when he became president he found out there was a recommendation to assassinate fidel castro. so we do make mistakes. and the fact that the president-- yes t is-- we don't put americans into con bat situation, they're not combat situation. the fact that neighborhoods in yemen are being hit by drones is known by the people in the neighborhoods in yemen. that's no secret to them. it's been a secret to us. and i just think the failure to debate that has been a failure of us in the press but a failure of political leadership as well. >> woodruff: and this accusation that the president is guilty of hypocrisy because of what he said during the campaign, what said early in his presidency, is that a fair -- >> it's a fair-- i think the president has to make the case. i mean you know, because he certainly, his position now is entirely different. david's right. he has a different responsibility now than he had then. and it is kind of neat.
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and you don't have the civilian casualties that you do when are you bombing from 20,000 feet. but at the same time, the new american foundation's cement 142 civilians have been killed in yemen. yes, we kilter rest. how many do we create with these. >> right, well, you know, when you get that daily intelligence brief the way the president does it changes your perspective. you don't have the luxury of doing the moral breaning you-- preening dow from the outside sow has a different view. i do agree with mark. it's just-- we should never trust concentrated power. that is not what the country is based on. it's based on checks and balances and especially because it is so neat, because it seems so easy, you just order a strike and somebody in tampa or somewhere or langley is running the thing. it's soz. and i so do think it may slow down the acquisition of kill lists but you do need-- need a court review and maybe former military intelligence people doing an efficacy review but it would make us all feel better. >> another tough foreign
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policy lesson. we learned yesterday, mark, for another congressional hearing, that there had been a division in the administration and this is what rain suarez-- suarez's discussion was b we learned that secretary clinton, then secretary of state, secretary of defense panetta, the cia director, all were in favor of the u.s. sending arm to its rebels in syria. the president overruled it significance of this that we are finding it out now. >> and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. you had across-the-board and these are not groups that walk in lock step. state department and cia and defense the fact they came up first of all the fact that it's out in the open, i mean neither general damp tee nor secretary panetta was particularly eager to talk about it. but it was, it did give us a look into this administration, the argument at the white house among the national security people was that it would strengthen groups they felt.
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the arms would, inside the syria who were radical, islamists that were possibly be sunni allies, other radicals elsewhere. the failure to do it, and the skeptics add that the president was running for re-election on the thesis that he was disentangling us from iraq, afghanistan, and further conflicts in that area. and that this would dilute that argument. and the irony is, of course, that the group that has taken the lead now against president assad is, in fact, the sunni -- >> significance of the president overruled all these folks, what does that tell us? >> well, when we were talking about hillary clinton's legacy we were saying you know foreign policy, here is another bit of evidence that it is run from the white house. now the president has the perfect right to overrule. >> yes. >> he is is the can
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kmnd-- commander in chief and some of the best decisions a man named elliott cone write a book on this, some of the best presidential decisions have been overruled. so within that perfect right he is, nonetheless the concentration of power in the white house across a whole range of spheres is i think a little troubling. and seconds's very hard to believe that there wasn't any politics in this domestic politics, i mean. now it could be arming the rebels was ineffective but if you have this broad sweep of people saying we should arm the rebels and the white house says no, it's hard to believe since it was so politically convenient not-- that it wasn't a mistake. and now the wrong rebels are in -- >> politics does have a role sometimes. >> the president did, in fact, overrule his advisors, including the vice president, including the secretary of defense gates, on going after osama bin laden. and elise ened to john brennan. so i mean there are times when a president has to make that lonely decision and that's where the buck does stop. >> woodruff: bring it back home, talking about politics.
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pure politics, inside the republican party, david, it looks like there are some, we've seen some evidence of this but now it looks like it's more out in the open, some of the traditional folks we thought of as being traditional leaders of the republican party are openly challenging, the tea party is this a momentary difference of opinion. or is it something longer lasting. >> i think it's a beginning of a longer lasting thing. there's been a lot of calls from republicans to change and we've seen that from paul ryan to marco rubbio, now we're seeing the donor class really begin to change. there is some question are they trying to change just the candidate so they don't get todd aikens or trying to change the substance. and so far it seems to be just the condition datas. one of the interesting things and i can't say i know the answer to this is how much will the tea party fight back? there has been some evidence that-- effort they are saying the establishment is taking over but my own thing so far is that there is not the will to fight among the tea party. and a lot of people in the
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tea party frankly are also republicans. and a lot of-- take rush limbaugh who is not tea party, he's more an establishment republican who wants the republican party to win. so i have a feeling that the establishment is going to have maybe an easier time of it than some might think. >> woodruff: what dow sense? >> i think that when yo you-- william f. buckley the great conservative philosopher had the best advice for republicans here, he said i always support the most conservative candidate who is electable. and that was his rule of support. and the republicans have been nominating people who have been unelectable. i can think of five senate seats, dell aware, indiana, nevada, colorado and missouri, where they nominated condition datas who are unhe electable and democrats who are really difficult races either to be elected or re-elected, one in all cases and democrats retain control of the senate. 26% of the electorate is asian, hispanic or
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african-american. republicans won 13% of that con sfit-- constituency in 2012. they have lost the voters between the age of 18 and 30 by 22 pest on the average in the last three elections. they don't have a constituency. they've got to figure out how to get elected, how to nominate people who are going to win. they're to the going to nominate people in new england to win in alabama. >> that is why it doesn't just the candidate. >> but as we keep being reminded, the most of the republicans who were re-elected come from districts where they were comfortably re-elected and did they see a reason to think differently, act differently when they're being supported by the folks who sent them to represent that district. >> people don't change so i read a stud thee week where they took a look at can dats what happens when their district shifts and their districts become more moderate. do the condition datas themselves become more moderate. the answer is no, people don't change. so if you are looking for
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people to top the republican party, to lead the change, changing the party that is just not going to happen. it's going to be people out in the states, people off in a new wing that's going to rise up and change the party from the outside. >> well, the problem, i agree with david. but the problem is they can move on immigration. and that's a legislative response. they say look, we are moving but how do you do that with younger voters. i mean you're a party looking for-- rather than converts. they've been an unhappy group, they're not welcoming. eric cantor the house majority leader made a speech this week about being more inclusive with sort of a kinder, ghenterer republican party, education, being inclusive. you know, sort of a difference in tone but you know, i don't-- i think the republican problems are serious. ronald reagan won young voters for republicans and they were the best group in 12012, 30 years later that group that-- was
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still-- that's the problem the republicans have. >> we don't have a problem with you. we love having you every single friday night, mark, david, thank you. and mark and david keep up the talk on the "doubleheader," recorded in our newsroom. that will be posted at the top of the rundown later tonight. >> brown: finally tonight, a conversation with humorist dave barry. barry is well-known for his long-running newspaper column about all things wacky and wonderful in miami. and miami is the setting for his new novel, which includes a bachelor party run amuck, a wedding that's interrupted by the arrival of a boat of haitian refugees, a large python snake, some russian gangsters and, well, a lot more. the book is titled "insane city". dave barry joined me in our studio last week. here's our conversation. david barry, welcome. >> thank you. >> insane city that would, of course, be miami.
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>> that's my town. >> once again giving you a cool all kinds of toller. >> why else do we have mime fee not to give me material. i moved there in 1986 from the united states and i have never lived any more target rich environment for a humorist. >> what is it about miami that keeps giving? >> people, first of all the people are weird. people come from everywhere, people, just weird people are attractsed to miami. they come there not for serious reasons, actually. they come there to be criminals, elected observations for the most part. they come there to party. and then the wildlife is weird. the weather is weird. it's just a festering stew of weirdness. >> amid the weirdness part of the mayhem here, then you bring in this raft of haitian refugees arriving in the midst of a lavish wedding, right. now that part, at least migration is not funny in and of itself. >> no. >> the goal there was, i wanted to give the hero of the book, a guy named seth who is kind of a slacker who is getting married, something he had to be responsible for. a guy who sort of drifted
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through life. and he accidentally on the night of his bachelor party gets very wasted and that's normal but then without intending to ends up rescuing a haitian woman without wash as shore with her two children in a place where haitians regularly do come ashore and is then suddenly responsible for them and he has on the weekend of what is supposed to be perfect wedding has haitians living in his bachelor suite which is not ideal. >> but as a writer, then, the tone, you have to balance that tone, right, of sort of over the top humor and well haitian refugees. >> and i tried very hard to treat them very seriously t is a life-and-death problem they are dealing with but at the same time the machination of grooms, groomsmen and the bride trying to get the wedding to go ahead as it is supposed to around that is meant to be funny. >> brown: it seems like are you taking normal things and
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pushing them. >> yeah. >> is that the mo. where does it start, does it start with the normal thing and then you sort of imagine oh, i wonder what i can do with it? >> yeah, like one of the other problems that the groom has to deal with is these, he loses the wedding richblingt he had been entrusted, really nothing but the wedding ring, this valuable heirloom wedding ring. he loses it, i thought what would be a really good way to lose it and i decided he would lose it to an orangatan, named trevor. >> wait a minute. >> this happens all the time this is why are you not supposed to have one at a wedding, you they that. >> and i'm not supposed to ask why losing a ring t would be a nice way to lose it to to an orangatan. >> because it is a little pushing the envelope. what is gunnee, i meant for trevor to be a minor character, just he was going to be the mechanism by which the ring gets lost but i liked him a lot. he kind of took on a life of his own and became the romantic character in the novel. >> and then the other thing is the mundane craziness,
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and i guess i'm imagining this is your reporter's eye. i did an experiment this afternoon. i just opened the book random looechlt i was on page 2 44. but one of the characters is trying to buy something at a drugstore. this is something we all go through. and then he said but you write she was-- he is behind one customer. he was the nightmare nightest customer to be stuck behind. and then you kind of rip on that. >> this is a guy who is a gangster, basically who needs to get some diapers for the haitian, it's complicated but he needs to get diapers for the mother's kids and gets stuck behind this woman. >> that is complicated. >> we have all been stuck behind that woman, with you know, she has a coupon but it is not for the right thing what is the right thing that is a sendoff, so i wrote a long scene where this poor man with a gun is stuck behind this woman. >> tell me about, of course you wrote this column for a long time. the biggest difference between turning that out and then this kind of-- this kind of work. >> well, when i'm writing
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comes all i'm thinking about is jokes, jokes, joke, set up, punch line, joke, joke, jorxment and i really don't care where it goes. i never had a point in my life to take make. i'm just trying to entertain the reader. as long as it's funny, with a novel, you have to have a story. it's much more important to have it matter to the reader what happens to people and it has to make sense and end in a way that is satisfying so i spent a lot more time thinking about that, then the writing itself usually is easier for me because i know where it's going. >> but those columns won you a pulitzer for commentary. you are saying sdwrok, joke, joke, you had no point to make. >> sometimes it gets really, it came after the i won the pulitzer prize t can be a long day reading pulitzer prize entries so i think maybe they were happy to have something that wasn't serious. >> but you would go to scenes, right. you were reporting the city in a sense in a joking way. >> yeah, i mean -- >> yes, yes, if you are
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trying to give me a compliment, i'm going to take it. >> take it and run with it. >> did you see yourself sort of, and in this too, it's kind of reporting a city, am i taking this too far? >> no, no, you are absolutely right. i do try to raise in certain issues, they're not like major abstract policy issues but you know, dealing with the issue in this case of why is it okay for cuban immigrants to come to miami and just walk ashore and they're allowed to stay, haitian immigrants are not t suddenly becomes important to this guy who never even thought bim gration. so i guess i'm raising that issue. >> do you have a favorite literary humorist of the past that you look to either as columnist or novelist. >> my favorite of all time is pg woodhouse and when i write a book that is the guy i'm thinking of. many different characters with many different motives, banging off each other in someplace like landings castle with no idea what the other ones are up to. and somehow some resolution at the end. i love that kind of plotting.
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>> and what is to come? more miami keeps giving. >> yeah, miami, you can never run out of material as long as you have miami around you you will never stop being amused. >> all right. well this one is insane city, dave barry, nice to talk to you. >> same here. thank you and online, you can watch more of dave barry as he reads an excerpt from his new novel. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: what could be the biggest blizzard in decades began to blanket the northeast and new england with up to three feet of snow expected in some places; heavily armed police moved deeper into snow-covered mountains east of los angeles hunting an ex-police officer wanted for three murders; and the british government charged that criminals are behind the growing discoveries of horse meat in what was supposed to be imported beef. and a question-- when is making money a bad investment? the answer is online, as hari sreenivasan explains. >> sreenivasan: it costs more than a penny to mint a penny.
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so, should we kill the one-cent coin? economics correspondent paul solman argues yes on "making sense." we look back at leon panetta's tenure as defense secretary. find an assessment and slide show on our "world" page. and on tonight's "need to know," ray hosts a roundtable discussion on how to keep medicare intact. that's on most pbs stations later this evening. find a link to "need to know" and more on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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captioning sponsored by wpbt >> this is n.b.r. >> susie: good evening, everyone. i'm susie gharib. it's the first major storm to hit the northeast since hurricane sandy and it could be one for the record books. residents and businesses spent the day preparing for the worst. >> tom: i'm tom hudson. the u.s. trade gap narrows as the world buys more made in america products and the u.s. buys less foreign oil.
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>> susie: and with gas prices rising, chevy hopes its new diesel chevy cruze will attract buyers looking for more miles per gallon. >> tom: that and more tonight on "n.b.r." >> susie: millions of people are bracing tonight for a powerful snow storm that could cripple the east coast. some forecasters say this could be the blizzard of the century with record amounts of snow and extremely strong winds. in parts of the northeast, transportation was shut down. the governors of massachusetts and connecticut declared a state of emergency and banned car travel, train service and cancelled flights in and out of boston. while the worst of the storm has yet to hit, many businesses and cities were busy making preparations today. erika miller reports. >> reporter: this monstrous storm is already being compared to the great blizzard of '78, when vast amounts of snow blanketed the ohio valley and the great lakes. that storm lasted 36 hours, leaving cars stranded. this storm could also be historic. weather forecasters predict it

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